This is in no way to suggest that there is any connection between the two writers.I mean, ) and while he certainly could have read it in Spanish, I have no evidence that he did (and as I recently found out, the first draft of the Oscar story was written in 2000). But more than that, this is the story of a fukú–a curse that befalls the de Leon family and follows them through several generations.
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I’m going to get this part out of the way because I was thinking about it throughout the book and I want to mention it without having it bog down the post. On the surface, sure this is because they are both writers from “Central America” (Diaz is originally from the Dominican Republic but moved to the US, while Bolaño is originally from Chile but moved to Mexico and then Spain).
But I’m not really talking about their origins so much as the style of storytelling.
Further, Bolaño has written about the brutalities of both Chile and Mexico and how a person can survive in such a place.
Similarly, Díaz follows the life of Oscar and his extended family and he talks about the brutalities of the Dominican Republic.
Oscar’s only salvation was fiction–both reading it and writing it.